Poo(h) Sticks

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On Monday we ventured out on a much-needed excursion to Knole Park, near Sevenoaks, for a romp with the famed deer there and to have a gourmet picnic (Adam is king of picnics). We walked the best part of 3 miles with the kids, which was mainly because a.) we got lost and couldn’t read the stupid map on my iphone, and b.) because F&S needed to burn off all the sugar that comes with mainlining Easter eggs all weekend.

The park is really spectacular, a budding photographer’s dream, and even on a Bank Holiday it never seemed that busy, bar a few fellow walkers passing us by as we picnicked.

Ironically, we only saw two deer the whole time, but this satisfied Freddie and Sasha, who seemed more interested in a ‘special’ stick that F had found, and the subsequent drawing of ‘train tracks’ in the ground and poking deer shit with it. The latter was hazardous for S, as unfortunately for her (and us), clumps of deer poo look very much like pine cones to the untrained toddler eye, pine cones being a current lust-have collectors item for her.

All in all a fantastic day, and well worth a visit if you happen to be anywhere near north-west Kent. After a weekend of being irritated by all and sundry, I definitely needed this,. I’ve seen many (lovely) gushy blog posts about how amazing Easter was and they made me feel pretty crap for feeling so negative. Monday was a great reminder of how wonderful my little family is most of the time!

Easter etc

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Good Easter folks? In all honesty, it felt a little bit ‘meh’ here. We had an amazing feast at my Mum’s on Easter Sunday which was lovely, and a much-needed day out yesterday, but the rest, just a smidge, ‘meh’. I was nursing an outrageous hangover on Good Friday, thanks to a wine-fuelled ‘dinner’ with friends the night before (read: tiny Pizza Express risotto portion Vs 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc). This resulted in me getting rat-arsed and subsequently arguing/ranting with a 24 year old banker on the vomit comet last train home, and spending the remainder of the journey post-Catford giving him woozy-eyed evils until he (probably with much relief) got off at the stop before mine. I spent early Friday morning in bed (my turn for a lie-in, result!), feeling woeful, with an uneasy feeling that a grainy CCTV image of my ranting would be coming to a copy of our local News Shopper near you soon. Having said that, it was a top night, although I have once more confirmed my suspicions that I really can’t handle my vino any more, and the hangovers have reached a crippling stage of direness: Small children show no mercy when all you want to be doing is kissing the porcelain. I also find that a really gruesome hangover doesn’t just come with the physical side effects, it makes me feel anxious and melancholy for days, which probably contributed to my sad state of ‘meh’ness (that is a word, yes?).

F&S have been great for the most part of the weekend though, and have pootled on cheerily, despite my overall lackluster mood. They do make me smile. The stuff they come out with cracks me up. Sasha has started to do this thing with her eyes, which we found hilarious, and now she does it all the time. We made a passing comment ONCE to each other about how she looks a bit like David Blunkett when she does it, which the kids seemed to have latched onto. Freddie: “Do your Blunkett, Sasha, do it!”, and so now everytime she comes up to us and does this eye thing, she says “Look, Mummy, look, Daddy, I doing a Blunkett!”. Not one for out in public and terribly un-PC, but it is funny all the same. I couldn’t have had unfunny kids. I’d take a GSOH over almost anything else, any day of the week.

On Friday afternoon we just all hung out in the garden (which is looking IMMENSE now, cheers, Mum!), whilst I alternated standing in goal with trying to stay sat hidden on the decking in the sunshine (it is hard to stay hidden from children for long). Saturday was much of the same, except I was minus the hangover and Ad was playing football away for the best part of the day, and although Adam’s Dad took F out for the afternoon and I got an hour of free time whilst S napped, we were essentially ‘in’ for for the duration. This is due to potty training. S is doing so well one week in, and has got wees sussed already, although turds are proving more troublesome. She’ll get there though. Some observations I’ve made this week re potty training are as follows: Firstly, even 23 month olds don’t like to be watched taking a dump. Secondly, I realised this week just how little i’d watched and noticed about my own daughter since she was born. Because i’ve been watching her like a hawk these past few days, waiting for any little sign that she might want to use the potty (this week, I must have said the phrase “do you need a wee?” a billion times), I’ve observed her. Like REALLY observed her. I feel quite ashamed that I didn’t notice little things before, probably because once you get to child number 2, you don’t get much of a chance to notice them, what with being so busy, and generally trying to just survive. Like the fact she does these little skips everywhere, and has started humming songs. I never knew she hummed before. And it’s wonderful. How awful is that, that I didn’t know?

I think by Sunday night i’d gotten cabin fever from being ‘in’ for the best part of 3 days (apart from that very welcome lunch at Mum’s up the road). Come 5pm, both kids were overtired, wailing like smack addicts on withdrawal, except the culprit was not heroin, but an almighty chocolate crash, and i’d had enough. Grumpy, I shut myself in the downstairs loo for some peace and quiet, only to have Freddie standing on the otherside of the door 3 minutes later, trying to prise in open with a plastic screwdriver and asking if my bottom was stinky and was my poo big. *sigh*. Bedtime couldn’t come quickly enough that night. Adam and I then watched ‘Philomena’ for the first time (inhaling most of our chocolate eggs, natch), whereby the aforementioned real-life character is forced by nuns to give up her 3 year old son in the 1950s. Gut wrenching stuff, and made me cry, and then I felt awful for wanting my kids to leave me alone for a bit that day, and spent the night cuddled up to Freddie in our bed (he’s a regular night visitor at present), making empty promises that i’d never shout at him or Sasha again. Mother Guilt eh? It’s a bitch.

I realise I’ve moaned massively here today, but not all was bad. Sunday lunch was a highlight, and yesterday was ace, we got out and about (post coming soon) and I had a spring in my step once more. We set up the Easter egg hunt in the garden that we’d sacked off on Sunday due to the rain and general apathy to the whole thing (I think i’d peaked with Easter too soon. F &S didn’t know any different anyway), and it was really lovely. One of those times when it feels glorious to have small children, and when you really take delight in their delight. They genuinely couldn’t believe their luck that a giant rabbit had come into our garden and left a ton of chocolate eggs. Eggs Mummy! A shiny pink one! Oh, to be so little again. We had so much fun! The objects of their joy were not hidden particularly well, and yet they still took an age to find them, even the ones staring them in the face. Endearing and painful all at the same time. If I’ve ever doubted that my children are anything other than geniuses, this was the time. A sweet reminder that the pace of life for small people is overall, slow (apart from when a colossal amount of sugar is consumed, then they bounce around like frogs on acid), and something we can probably learn from.

Once all the eggs were found, the kids played the game of Who can fit the most eggs in the mouth at any one time? Sasha won convincingly (see last photo). Like Mother, like Daughter.

So… that’s me. How was your Easter?!

Linking up with Honest Mum’s ‘Brilliant Blog Posts’! 

Sunday Brunch! Ham & Mozzarella Bread Pudding

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ham and mozz

Good morning, and Happy Easter Sunday! I hope you all have lovely days planned with family and friends? Today I have an adaptation of a Sainsburys recipe for an amazing brunch: Ham and Mozzarella bread pudding. The children are waking REALLY early since it’s gotten lighter in the morning (hello, 5.15am), so despite a good breakfast and a snack, they are often ravenous by late morning- cue the need for great brunch ideas!

This brunch is super-tasty, and feels just that bit fancy, despite it really taking no effort at all.

The original recipe uses spinach (which is what I would usually choose to use), but I swapped it for blanched peas instead, as Freddie and Sasha won’t go near the stuff. I served this with some salad, and a bit of tomato ketchup on the side (natch).

You will need:

  • 260g bag young spinach.
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 15g fresh chives (or flat-leaf parsley), snipped.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 10 slices medium white bread, cut into triangles
  • 100g ham, chopped.
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced.
  • 125g pack mozzarella, drained and torn.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C,fan 180°C, gas 6. Pierce the bag of spinach and microwave on high for 1 minute, until wilted. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, most of the chives, 1⁄2 tsp of the paprika and some freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Line a 1.5-litre ovenproof dish with a layer of the bread triangles, overlapping slightly. Top with 1⁄2 the ham, spinach and tomatoes, then pour over 1⁄2 the egg mixture. Repeat with the remaining ham, spinach, tomatoes and egg mixture.
  4. Top with the mozzarella and sprinkle over the remaining paprika and chives. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and golden.
  5. Serve with the salad.

Home Comforts! Vintage ‘Vogue’ Mirror

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This vintage early 1970s ‘Vogue’ mirror was salvaged from the house clearance place on our street, where I have found many treasures prior, and also where I source some of my vintage crockery from. At £15, it was a bargain in comparison to the over-priced £174 I’ve seen a similar one go for elsewhere online! When I first discovered the mirror, it was in a horrible grey, metal frame, so we paid £30 to replace it with a smart black one. The ‘Vogue’ print on the mirror is a replica of a February 1919 issue of Vogue, which I love, especially as I’ve since got hooked on that era, thanks a lot to Downton Abbey! The mirror is a bit too heavy to be hung on the wall, so it now has pride of place in our living room fireplace, where it look great as a statement piece in the room.

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#TBT – Freddie’s 1st Year in Pictures!

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Now, when people ask me about blogging, and how can I be bothered to do it so often, my first answer is often “I wish i’d done it sooner!”. It really is the modern day equivalent of a diary- only with a few other people reading it too! I would have loved to have started the blog in my early twenties, and documented travels, my forays into different careers, thoughts, cities/towns/flats/houses lived in, plus of course, two pregnancies, births and the early baby days. I SO wish i’d written down when the children had done things as babies, as even now I can’t quite remember when Freddie’s first tooth came in (7 months, ish?), or when Sasha started crawling properly (8 months?).

So I’ve decided to write ‘Throw Back Thursday (or whatever day of the week I can be arsed to write them)’ posts, using some of our photos from life pre-blog, in order to start building up a mini scrapbook of what happened and when- if I can remember that is!

Above, is the first 12 months of Freddie’s life, in pictures- one for every month. Looking back at them makes me realise that time really DOES fly, and is so very precious. They really won’t be tiny for long! It really does seem like a lifetime away, even though it’s only been 3 years. When he was born, we were living in our flat in Beckenham, and I don’t think either of us would have thought that Sasha was going to join us in little over a year’s time!

Freddie & Sasha’s Easter Reads!

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The last couple of weeks we have been adding a few ‘Easter’ and ‘Spring’ themed reads to our usual repertoire of books!

First up, is a popular one in our household, ‘Peppa’s Easter Egg Hunt’, where Peppa and chums go on an Easter egg hunt Granny and Grandpa Pig’s house, and meet some hatching baby chicks. Simple, and with cheerful pictures, this is a great book for little ones, and have served Sasha in particular well in feeding her Peppa addiction (I swear that pig is toddler crack), and for getting into the superficial swing of Easter (read: chocolate eggs).

Next, we’ve been counterbalancing the lightweight ‘Peppa Easter’ with a great little book that simplifies the real Easter Story for the little ones. ‘The Easter Bible Storybook’  tells the rise of Jesus again in fab pictures, and the whole point of the celebration of Easter, in simple terms for small people. We’re not crazy-religious of anything, but I think it’s important that if you’re going to milk certain aspects of a celebration/festival/holiday, you need to know the main background of it. It’s obviously going in, as the kids keep shouting “Jesus is alive!” loudly in the garden, making us sound like proper hardcore Christians. Which is probably not a bad thing, since we’re getting married in our lovely local church next year, and need all the help we can get!

And lastly, a classic and a lovely spring book for younger toddlers ‘That’s Not My Lamb’, which Sasha is still really into. She loves feeling the different textures, and is using the descriptive words really well, and appropriately now at nearly 2. An Easter must-have for babies upwards!

Do you have a favourite Easter storybook?